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Alex is our Head of Intellectual Property (IP) and works with both private client and business IP lawyers on contentious and non-contentious matters.
Alex helps his clients to identify, manage and resolve contentious issues relating to intellectual property rights (of all kinds) and information technology. His strategic approach to dispute resolution and early case analysis frequently enables clients to avoid or settle disputes without litigation.
He also helps clients to understand their intellectual property rights better, to secure appropriate IPR protection for what they create, and to realise the value of that IPR by commercialising it.
Alex’s practice focuses primarily on the engineering and technology sectors, and he also has extensive experience in the retail (particularly FMCG) sector. His areas of expertise include:
"strong contentious expertise" - Legal 500 2014
Alex Newman shows "good commercial acumen combined with analytical skills” - Legal 500 2012
“With the Aldi case, there are a number of intellectual property rights that come in to play in these sort of scenarios. First and foremost, market leading brand owners will look at registered trade mark law, and passing off and copyright law can also come in to play. The difficulties which the market leading brand owners face is that the law isn't clear when drawing lines between what is lawful and what isn't.
“Companies making copycat products push as close to the line as they can get without infringing. The law doesn’t set those clear and fast lines so we have more ambiguous concepts to consider: is there likely to be confusion? Is the package of a particular product misrepresenting itself as the packaging of a market-leading product? Ultimately, all of these questions end up being a matter of impression for a judge to decide and he will make his decision based on his knowledge of life as a general, everyday consumer, obviously allied to certain legal principles; but there’s very rarely any certainty about the way the case is going to go and that brings in concerns about the risk of litigation and the cost of taking on supermarkets.
“It comes down to the judge's discretion and for that reason, many market leading brand owners will be reluctant to take action against a copycat product because they realise it may take them 12-18 months to get the matter resolved. By that time, the product in question may no longer be on the shelves and they may face a hefty legal bill; not only of their own, but they may also be ordered to pay the defendant’s cost – and that’s before you even get in to the commercial issues of taking on a supermarket which may well be your biggest customer.”
"Our latest research confirms that the UK Powerhouse’s Northern generators are still not running anywhere close to full load, and that those in our region need firing up.
"The technology sector can certainly fuel that fire, with the digital and creative industries booming in the Leeds City Region and beyond, but it needs the right raw materials both now and in the future. Highly skilled workers are the raw materials we need to attract more investment from the technology sector, but Brexit threatens to decimate our reserves and cut off our pipeline, so we are going to need to produce our own. To do that, we need to invest now in educating and motivating the next generation of tech geniuses and entrepreneurs, before it is too late."
“World IP Day is about highlighting how IP contributes to all areas of life from music and the thriving arts scene, to creating technological innovation, healthcare and engineering.
“We’re passionate about ensuring that products of the creative mind are protected.
“Doing so means creators will not only receive the recognition they deserve, but also protection from unfair competition to ensure they are able to develop existing ideas and continue to create new ones.”
“Creating this beer has been a brilliant and really interesting journey - from deciding on which type of beer to make, which ingredients to use, how to brand it, and then of course helping with the brewing process. It was great to launch the beer in Leeds and we are delighted with the end result. It was also good to be able to share the new beer with clients and host the event in a pub belonging to Leeds brewery – another Irwin Mitchell client.
“This is more than just a beer. It is the result of a client partnership with Intrepid which not only celebrates the anniversary of their beers appearing in pubs, but highlights the issues relating to trademark in the brewing industry. We want people to enjoy the beer, but we also want to raise awareness of how important it is for small companies in the sector to ensure they have considered all issue in relation to intellectual property.”
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